The 19-year-old resident aide at Emeritus at Riverstone always wanted to be a nurse, her mother Portia Elrod said Tuesday.
“She loved doing that,” her mother said. “She was a loving person and would give her shirt off her back for anybody.”
The former Cherokee High School student and lifelong Canton resident was killed early Sunday morning. Her boyfriend, Trevor Nuckles, 21, is charged with her death.
Elrod’s mother said her daughter was her best friend and a great mother to her 2-year-old son Jordin.
“She cherished her son,” she said.
The victim’s cousin and roommate, Alyssa Howell, said she would miss her cousin’s smile and laughter.
“She was always making people laugh,” the 18-year-old Middle Georgia College student said.
Howell said she grew up playing sports with her cousin, whom she also considered her best friend.
“She was always a happy person,” Howell said. “She spoke her mind about anything.”
Howell said her cousin’s goal to become a nurse spoke volumes about her character.
“She was ready to have a successful life and she wanted to have her son well taken care of,” Howell said. “She loved him very much.”
Doug Baker, executive director at Emeritus at Riverstone, said Elrod had been employed with his company for nine months.
“She was a ray of sunshine in the building,” Baker said. “She always had a smiling face and was always cheerful.”
Baker said Elrod always tried to exceed the expectations of residents, some of whom are collecting money to assist the family.
“Several of our residents have expressed their condolences and they’ve told stories about how she took special care of them and she helped them do their personal laundry.” Baker said. “She was just always thoughtful and had a very caring and loving spirit.”
Baker said Emeritus at Riverstone’s parent hospice company is providing grief counselors for employees and residents, which he said has been especially helpful since Elrod’s mother also works there as a housekeeper.
“It’s been really difficult for our community,” he said. “All of her coworkers here are just in disbelief and shock and hurting for her.”
Baker said the professionals are also speaking with residents and employees about domestic violence, including how to recognize the signs and what to do if they suspect a friend, family member or co-worker may be suffering due to domestic violence.
“It’s an opportunity for us to learn and grow, but our hearts are broken,” Baker said.
In her youth, Elrod was also a participant in several programs through Cherokee FOCUS, a nonprofit collaborative that partners with local agencies and organizations to create initiatives designed to support families and children.
Sonya Carruthers, director of the nonprofit, said Elrod was in the Cherokee Youth Works program. Through the program, Elrod worked at Reinhardt University in housekeeping and also worked at Holly Springs Academy.
Stacy Cooper, Elrod’s former case manager in Cherokee FOCUS, said she helped her with job coaching during two summers and described her as a sweet young woman who had a “big impact” on the people around her.
“It’s just so sad to see a 19-year-old who had a lot to offer and who could have had a full life … to see it cut so short is so sad and disheartening,” Cooper said. “It really inspires me to continue to work harder to get into (young people’s) lives and try to help them make good choices.”